PRESS RELEASE: Santa on Capitol Hill: A Lot of Naughty Big Boys and Girls

Posted December 21, 2012

Disappointed by inaction of Congress, Santa returned to Capitol Hill with load of coal for intransigent members

WASHINGTON – A week after coming to Washington to plead with Representative Paul Ryan and Speaker John Boehner to save Christmas by passing tax relief for the middle class, Santa is back and he’s not happy.

With Congress deadlocked over passing tax cuts for 98 percent of Americans, Santa Claus returned to Capitol Hill to deliver 120 pounds of coal to the naughty congressmen and congresswomen who refused to save Christmas. By failing to come to agreement on saving middle class families more than $2,000 in tax hikes, Congressional leadership is seemingly prepared to allow the US economy to go over the so-called “fiscal cliff.”

“It makes me very sad to deliver this coal to Congress, but their inaction is inexcusable,” said Santa. “Christmas should be a time of peace and hope. Instead, Congress is telling families that the best they can do is deliver more uncertainty and higher taxes. That’s beyond naughty; it’s flat wrong.”

PRESS RELEASE: Catholics United Statement on Shooting in Connecticut

Posted December 14, 2012

Calls on President Obama to lead national discussion on preventing gun violence, is “disappointed by his lack of action”

WASHINGTON – Catholics United Executive Director James Salt released the following statement in reaction to this morning’s mass shooting in Newtown, Conn.:

“Today’s shooting is yet another horrific marker in a seemingly endless cycle of gun violence in America. As we mourn the dead and send thoughts and prayers to the families of the victims of this senseless act, we know prayer alone is not enough.

“As Catholics who support the social justice achievements of this President, we are disappointed in his lack of action in working to prevent these heinous acts of violence. We call on President Obama to find the courage to lead our nation and help bring a true and lasting end to gun violence.

PRESS RELEASE: Cuccinelli Blasts Catholic Church for “Creating Culture of Dependency” in Caring for Poor

Posted December 14, 2012

Calling the Catholic leadership “soft” and “weak,” presumptive GOP Va. gubernatorial nominee condemns charitable advocacy of Church

WASHINGTON – Citing efforts by the Catholic Church to alleviate the suffering of the poor and marginalized, saying it has “always cost [Americans’] liberty,” Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli blasted church leadership for fighting for universal health care and immigrants’ rights while speaking at September’s Cherish Life Ministries Christian Life Summit, the blog ThinkProgress has learned.

Saying the American church’s efforts to lobby for health care reform and strengthening the social safety net create “a culture of dependency,” Cuccinelli, a practicing Catholic and front-runner for the Virginia GOP’s upcoming gubernatorial nomination, condemned the US Catholic bishops for decades of lobbying the government on behalf of the poor. Cuccinelli suggested the church should not ask for government money in its mission to alleviate suffering.

PRESS RELEASE: Santa Claus to Congress: Be Nice, Pass Tax Cuts for 98 Percent of Americans

Posted December 12, 2012

Father Christmas joins fiscal showdown negotiations, encourages Congressional leaders to remember the poorest and most vulnerable

WASHINGTON – Christmas came two weeks early to Capitol Hill. Santa Claus himself made an emergency appearance on the East Lawn of the US Capitol Building today, urging Congressional leaders to avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff” and get on to the business of passing tax relief for millions of American families.

Speaking at a press conference, Claus implored lawmakers to put partisan posturing aside and work together to help struggling families and not hold out for low taxes for the very wealthy.

“There is still time,” said Claus. “You all know I keep a very famous list. I assure you that I am checking it twice--each day--and very soon you’ll all know who has been naughty and who has been nice.”

Claus, famous for his annual holiday deliveries, said he’s grown to understand many of the families he meets every year are struggling to find real solutions for child care, job loss and medical care, and the “fiscal cliff” is the last thing these hurting families need.

PRESS RELEASE: Catholics #AskPontifex: What to Do About Fiscal Cliff?

Posted December 12, 2012

Celebrating Benedict XVI’s entry onto Twitter, lay Catholics are asking the Holy Father to weigh in on the crisis in Congress

WASHINGTON – The pope is on Twitter, thanks be to God.

Now, Catholics are taking to the social media powerhouse to ask the Holy Father what he thinks about the stalemate in Washington over the so-called “fiscal cliff.” Catholics United, a lay Catholic social justice advocacy organization, today organized a campaign to tweet questions about economic justice to the pope using the hashtag “#askpontifex,” in reference to Pope Benedict XVI’s chosen Twitter handle, @Pontifex.

“It’s an opportunity for Catholics in the pews to ask for guidance and leadership directly from the pope, and that’s something that’s truly unusual and exciting,” said James Salt, executive director for Catholics United. “We only hope that this action can help bring some humanity and compassion back into the debate. The pope, of all people, knows that we must first consider the poor and marginalized–these least among us–in every political debate. I hope Catholic politicians and people of faith are listening to his response.”

PRESS RELEASE: Catholics Deliver Petition to Knights of Columbus CEO Carl Anderson

Posted November 21, 2012

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – This afternoon, lay Catholics delivered a 5,000-signature petition organized by Catholics United Education Fund to Supreme Knight Carl Anderson of the Knights of Columbus at their international headquarters. The petition asks the Knights of Columbus to focus on helping the poor and vulnerable and stop using funds on divisive wedge issues like opposing civil same-sex marriage.

According to a report released by Equally Blessed, a Catholic coalition dedicated to fighting for civil marriage equality for LGBT Americans, the fraternal organization and its affiliated insurance company spent more than $6.25 million opposing civil same-sex marriage since 2005. This includes more than $600,000 spent in the last election cycle in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington.

Recent polls from the Pew Research Center and Gallup show that a majority of Catholics support civil same-sex marriage.

PRESS RELEASE: Catholics United Implores Bishops: Please Stay Out of Partisan Politics

Posted November 21, 2012

More than 25,000 signatures gathered ask bishops to refocus mission on Gospel mandate to serve the poor

BALTIMORE – Catholics United, with its allies at Faithful America, today delivered a petition with more than 25,000 signatures calling on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to refocus their time and energy toward issues of social and economic justice rather than far-right partisan issues.

Exit polling data from the election showed that a majority of Catholics voted to reelect President Obama. Lay Catholics joined in support of the marriage equality referendums that passed in four states while the bishops’ conference was a strong vocal and heavy financial backer against the measures supporting marriage equality. The election results demonstrate the culture war narrative the bishops were pushing failed to convince mainstream Catholics to vote against their values.

PRESS RELEASE: Illinois Bishop Who Compared Obama to Hitler Orders Anti-Obama Letter Be Read at Weekend Masses

Posted November 01, 2012

WASHINGTON – In a letter sent this week to area Catholics, Peoria, Ill., Bishop Daniel Jenky ordered priests in his diocese to read a blistering anti-Obama statement at all upcoming weekend Masses. In addition to comparing Democratic politicians to Roman soldiers who beat and persecuted Jesus Christ, in his statement he implied voting against Mitt Romney in next Tuesday’s election is a grave sin.

Bishop Jenky made international news earlier this year when he compared President Obama to Adolf Hitler and invading jihadists in the Middle Ages.

“What we’re seeing from Bishop Jenky is shocking, but sadly not surprising,” said James Salt, executive director for Catholics United. “The good bishop forgets we no longer live in a theocracy. For the sake of his flock and his IRS status, he would be well advised to cease using the pulpits of his diocese for partisan proclamations.”

Opinion polls show the bishops’ embrace of far-right political causes has the effect of driving younger generations of Catholics away from the faith.

PRESS RELEASE: Catholics United Responds to Diocese of Orlando’s Refusal to Keep Partisan Politics Out of Its Pulpits

Posted October 30, 2012

WASHINGTON – In response to increasing reports of politicization and partisanship from the pulpits, Catholics United last week sent Catholic parishes in Florida a pledge form. This form had a simple goal: stop partisan activity from tarnishing the sanctity of our Catholic churches and places of worship. But, for officials at the Diocese of Orlando, a one-page request to prevent partisanship from occurring in diocesan parishes was a bridge too far.

“The [pledge forms] appear to be an attempt to silence pastors on issues that are of concern to the Church this election season and contrary to the agenda of Catholics United,” said officials in a statement released on the diocesan website Friday. “It is the recommendation of this office that pastors do not sign the pledge.”

If one thing of this statement is true, it’s that Catholics United has an agenda to encourage houses of worship to cease being political rally sites and return to teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

PRESS RELEASE: Catholics United’s Statement on Knights of Columbus Anti-Marriage Equality Spending Report

Posted October 18, 2012

WASHINGTON – Equally Blessed, a coalition of pro-LGBT Catholics, has released a report that discovered the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal service organization, spent nearly $16 million since 2005 on far-right wing social issues, including $6.25 million opposing civil same-sex marriage. Of this, more than $600,000 has been donated in 2012 alone to anti-marriage equality ballot initiatives in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington.

The report comes immediately on the heels of a Pew Charitable Trust poll which has found a record increase in the number of Americans, roughly one-in-five, who no longer associate with any religion. Leading researchers believe these individuals are abandoning religion over the mixing of religion with right-wing political movements, such as opposition to civil same-sex marriage laws. The Knights of Columbus’ over-emphasis on divisive social issues corresponds with the appointment of Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, a former political appointee of President George W. Bush.

The following is a statement from Catholics United’s Executive Director, James Salt: